In the form of his life over the past three months, Shubman Gill played some jaw-dropping strokes in his 63 off 36 balls to set up a fine win for Gujarat Titans over MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the IPL opener in Ahmedabad on Friday (March 31).
Earlier, Ruturaj Gaikwad was all class in his 92 off 50 balls before Titans pulled things back in the middle overs to limit Chennai Super Kings to 178 for seven after opting to bowl first in front of a near-capacity crowd at the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.
But then Gill had other ideas, with the Titans getting home in 19.2 overs.
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Gill’s opening partner Wriddhiman Saha showed he has still got it as he smashed a couple of sixes and as many fours in his 16-ball 25 that got the Titans going in the run chase.
Gill’s best shot of the innings was the back foot punch off CSK’s impact player Tushar Deshpande and he followed with a pick-up shot over midwicket.
Titans’ impact player Sai Sudharsan, who was used instead of an injured Kane Williamson, contributed with 22 off 17 balls.
When Gill departed, Titans needed 41 off the last five overs but CSK managed to take the game down to the wire.
Cameo from Rashid Khan
It needed a cameo from Rashid Khan (10 not out off 3) to settle the nerves in the Titans dressing room.
Earlier, it was a display of effortless hitting from Gaikwad, who relied on his lofted drives over extra cover and crisp pull shots to collect as many as nine sixes.
Apart from Gaikwad, the only other batter who put the Titans under pressure was Moeen Ali who came up with a 17-ball 23. Ali’s flat six off Mohammad Shami on a free-hit ball was the highlight of his cameo.
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Gaikwad pulled IPL debutant Joshua Little on his very first ball to set the tone of his innings. That over went for 15 runs and with Shami conceding 17 runs in the following over, CSK got the momentum they were looking for.
Skipper MS Dhoni came out to bat at number eight but still managed to make an impact as he pulled Little for a six before flicking him for a four in the final over, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
(With Agency inputs)